Friday, June 09, 2006

seattle, part i

Evidence of my post-travel vacation is indicated by a tendency toward general lollygagging. The most constructive tasks I've accomplished since returning on Sunday are as follows:

  • Writing a to-do list (such ambition and optimism!)
  • Talking with my husband (a lot; not on the to-do list at all)
  • Making dinner (twice; also not on the list)
  • Showering (more than twice; nope, not listed either)
  • Emailing my siblings
  • Catching up with a friend on the phone (200 minutes)
  • Hanging up coats (it took three days before I moved them from the railing to the coat rack)
  • Folding laundry (Ted did the hard part of actually washing and drying it)
  • Uploading pictures from digital camera to computer (wouldn't have taken long except for my looking at every one of the 300+ photos I took on vacation)
  • Uploading pictures from computer to Costco (each picture 2MB... took a long time)
  • Sending online order for prints to Costco (at 1:30am... because it took so long to upload the pictures in the first place)
  • Shopping at Costco (to pick up prints... and groceries)
  • Filling the car with gas ($3.149 per gallon)
  • Putting away groceries
  • Starting to organize vacation gifts (on the list!)
  • Watching a movie about quantum physics (this required more work than anticipated)
  • Actually doing laundry (it's been so long since I started this entry that more laundry accumulated)
One may question how constructive some of these tasks really were. That same person might also wonder why more pressing tasks (especially those on the aforementioned to-do list) have not been completed.

What can I say? I'm on vacation.

So, to get started on the travel recap, this entry is about our brief first stop in Seattle, from whence the cruise originated. This is the first time I've been back since my friend, Anna's wedding in September 2002. Ted has not been there since moving away in January 2000.

We arrived in Seattle on Wednesday, May 24th around 12:00 noon. We procured a stretch limo to get us to the hotel because it was less expensive than getting all four of us and our eleven bags onto a shuttle. We walked to the Steel Pig for lunch, wandered around the Seattle Center vicinity, relaxed a bit, and headed over to Lake Union for dinner at Chandler's Crabhouse (where, although the whole dinner was amazing, the Northwest Seafood Chowder -- with crab, shrimp, clams, and smoked salmon -- was amazingly amazing).

Thursday morning, we enjoyed the complimentary hotel breakfast (which was actually quite good), and headed off to Pike Place Market. We walked a bit through the park by Cutter's, showing to our friends, Sam & Donna, points of interest in Elliott Bay and taking a few pictures like this one of a ferry (that's West Seattle in the background).

* * * IMPORTANT NOTE * * *

You may notice that I nonchalantly referenced a photograph in the previous sentence, but oddly there doesn't appear to be a picture. Blogger continues to disallow me the ability to upload pictures, and frankly I don't want to wait to post all this fascinating vacation information. You'll just have to come back for the slide show later. Future photo references will merely contain an unobtrusive placemarker, instead of a Blogger rant such as this.

Thank you for your time and attention.
* * *

We wandered over to the Market and proceeded to spend approximately six hours there. A very easy thing to do, considering the vast number of merchants there. I've been to the Market more times than I can count. In the nine years I lived in Seattle, I not only took every visitor there (great souvenirs, views, and touristy experiences), I regularly went on my own (great veggies, fruit, and flowers, all fresh and at amazing prices). It felt very much like home to me, but it was fun to see Sam and Donna taking it all in for the first time.

*** PHOTO PLACEHOLDER #2 - Sam & Donna at Pike Place Market piggy bank ***

*** PHOTO PLACEHOLDER #3 - Pike Place Fish Co., a.k.a. "Flying Fish" ***

We each found a different place to get lunch and rejoined in a central location to partake of it. We wandered Post Alley for a while. After spending ample money and wearing out ample shoe leather (who are we kidding, they were all rubber soles), we made our way back to the hotel to tally the goods and find room in the suitcases. We walked to the closest Pagliacci's to pick up pizza for dinner that we brought back to the hotel and ate in the common area, before retiring for the evening.

That's one of the nice things about vacation: you can do things like retire for the evening.

Friday morning, we were hoping to walk to Seattle Center, hop the Monorail to Westlake Center for a tad more shopping, and then take the Monorail back to go through Experience Music Project before boarding the shuttle van to head for Pier 66. However, our plans were modified by two factors. First, the Monorail is currently not running. Oops! Second, the plan was pretty ambitious considering the time contraints.

So instead, we cabbed to Westlake Center. While chatting with the nice folks at Made in Washington, we learned that there were two stores a couple blocks away that carry a good deal of Seahawks merchandise. Sam headed in that direction while I introduced Donna to one of my favorite stores of all times, Fireworks. I exercised extreme restraint and only spent $90. I have said for years that this will be the first store I visit when I win the lottery. I could easily have spent $10,000 there (and that's no exaggeration).

I also stopped at Rochester to pick up three ties for Ted who, despite months of preparation for the cruise's formal nights, neglected to actually pack his ties (he did pack his new suit). And we went to Bartell's to get motion sickness wristbands and Bonine. I didn't believe that Ted or I would need them, but better to have them and not need them than to need them and pay cruise ship gift shop prices to get them.

Sam came back to Westlake a happy camper with bags full of Seahawks booty. We made our way back to the hotel, quickly reorganized, and hopped the shuttle to get to the ship. It was relatively painless to get through baggage, security, check-in, etc., and before we knew it, the ship was "setting sail."

*** PHOTO PLACEHOLDER #4 - Seattle skyline from deck 14 of the M/V Mercury ***

And thus ends the first Seattle leg of the trip. Will I have time to recap all the Alaska stops and the second Seattle stop over the weekend? I don't know. But eventually, I'll get it all here. I was bad about posting information on my other big trips (Brisbane in late 2004, Honolulu in early 2005). I must get better about such things.

Plans for the weekend (which Ted reminds me is now just an ordinary weekend, not part of vacation) include going to see a movie. Our current options are A Prairie Home Companion, An Inconvenient Truth, Cars, or Mission Impossible 3. I think if we see all four of them, we'll be fairly well-rounded. Other plans for the weekend? Organizing the stuff we bought on vacation (the Christmas storage boxes are ready!). I actually started that today. And relaxing. OK, maybe I can blog the rest this weekend. Depends on how cooperative Blogger is.

For the first time in two weeks, I'm going to bed before 2:00am Eastern time. That gives me three nights to get into the habit of waking up in time to actually, you know, get to work on time. 'night.

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